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Gay-affirming summer camp options

Overnight, all-day, half-day and more available for all ages

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summer camps 2016, gay news, Washington Blade

Campers at Camp RimRock for Girls last summer in West Virginia. (Photo courtesy the camp)

The District is still shaking off the winter blues, but summer in the city is approaching fast. Local camps are already accepting registration for children to keep occupied during summer break. From day camps to overnight stays, sports and science, musical theater or even beauty school, there is a program nearby to keep kids entertained while they learn a thing or two.

Camp RimRock for Girls (343 Camp Rim Rock Rd., Yellow Spring, W.Va.) gives young girls from rising first grade through rising 10th grade, the chance to have fun away from home. Rising second through 10th can choose General Camp which includes activities such as sports, horseback riding, aquatics, performing arts and arts and crafts.  General Camp sessions are available in two-week sessions for $2,675 or four-week sessions for $4,700. Rising fourth through 10th graders can also choose Riding Specialty Camp, which focuses on horseback riding, for a one-week session for $1,850. First time sleep away campers in rising first, second and third grade can try Mini Camp for one week. Mini Camp sessions are $1,400 and designed to adjust children to sleep away camp.

HeadFirst Summer Camps offer activities at St. Albans School (3001 Mount Saint Alban, N.W.), Mater Dei School (9600 Seven Locks Rd., Bethesda, Md.) and Flint Hill School (3320 Jermantown Rd., Oakton, Va.) for rising pre-kindergarten through rising fifth graders. The day camp’s activities are diverse with options for multi-sports camp, basketball camp, baseball camp and soccer camp. Science and engineering camp is also available as well as a day camp with more general activities such as arts and crafts, music and movement, instructional swimming and story time. Prices range from $369-499 depending on camp session.

Synetic Theatre (1800 S Bell St., Arlington, Va.) offers two-week camp sessions from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Campers will work with senior artistic company members to stage an original play “A Tale of Two Ghostbusters” complete with musical numbers and an original score. Regular registration is $707 by May 1. Late registration is $757. Extended day care is available in one- or two-week packages from 3-6 p.m. for an extra fee of $100 or $200.

Washington Performing Arts music and dance camps run at various locations in the District from June 27 through Aug. 12. Capital Jazz Camp is for children in rising grades three through eight with prior vocal and instrumental experience. Capital Strings Camp is for children in rising grades three through six with no experience necessary. Capital Voices Camp is for children in grades fourth through 12th and requires basic vocal training experience. Summer Steps with Step Afrika is for rising campers in grades fourth through twelfth and requires basic dance experience. Tuition is $350 per week.

Circle Yoga (3838 Northampton St., N.W.) offers full day camp for children ages six through 12 and half day for children ages 4-7. Activities include mindful yoga and movement, crafts and creative arts, play at the park, group games, camp songs, relaxation and journaling. Full-day camp is from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and is $365 per week. Half-day camp is from 9 a.m.-noon and is $250 per week.

The YMCA in D.C. offers camp programs ranging from traditional camp activities like art, aquatic, dance, sports, technology and theatre. Specialized program such as beauty school, creative writing and gardening are also available. YMCA also offers a day and overnight camp, Camp Letts (4003 Camp Letts Rd., Edgewater, Md.), which includes outdoor activities such as kayaking and horseback riding. For more details on camp programs and for a list of prices, visit ymcadc.org and campletts.org.

Adventure Theatre offers Summer Musical Theater Camp for grades first through sixth for a two-week session in Glen Echo Park. Grades six-12 also have a Summer Musical Theater Training Program in Wintergreen Plaza for a three-week session. Campers dance, sing and act with the help of D.C area theater professionals and teaching artists in daily rehearsals. Family and friends of campers are treated to  a performance at the end of the camp session. Grades six-12 can choose to study contemporary musicals, Broadway revivals or movie musicals. Sessions for grades one-six range from $800-850. Grades six-12 sessions range from $1,150 through $1,200.

Green Acres School (11701 Danville Dr., North Bethesda, Md.) offers camp sessions for rising pre-kindergarten students through seventh grade. Kreative Kangaroos for Pre-K students includes outdoor play, swimming, dancing and carpentry. Junior camp for kindergarten through second grade includes cooking, drama and music, dance and swimming. Senior camp is for grades three through six and includes cooking, wood shop, filmmaking, photography, rock band and robotics. Pricing and session times vary.

Silver Stars Gymnastics has a Silver Spring (2701 Pittman Dr.) location and a Bowie (14201 Woodcliff Ct.) location. Camp sessions are for children ages 3 and a half-4, 5-7 and 8-15. Full-day programs are from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and half-day programs from 9 a.m.- noon with extended morning programs from 8-8:30 a.m. and extended evenings from 4:30-6 p.m. Camper learn the basics of gymnastics such as cartwheels, jumps, tucks, twists and flips.

The Beauvoir School, Rochambeau (the French International School) and the Lowell School also have great LGBT-affirming summer camp programs. Details at their sites.

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Real Estate

What homeowners are grateful for this year

Where you live should be something to appreciate

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(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Since you’re reading this over Thanksgiving weekend, I wanted to write about gratitude as it pertains to real estate, so I started by Googling “gratitude, house.” 

Unsurprisingly, page after page of results were links to recovery centers and residences.  Sandwiched in between was a now defunct coffeeshop and yoga studio in Bandra, Mumbai. Although I applaud people who are in recovery and I like yoga, none of that hit the target of what I was looking for, so here are some of my thoughts and suggestions.

Can you be grateful for things inside, outside, and around your home? Of course you can! It might not feel as profound as expressing thanks for the people you love, or good health, or your chosen faith, but as a homeowner, you’re making memories and experiencing ups and downs that you’re going to reflect on years down the road.

Think about the purchase of your home and the steps you went through to seal the deal. Did you find it quickly? Did you compete with other buyers and win? Did you pay a fair price? Did you get a great interest rate? Did the loan process and settlement go smoothly? If so, be grateful.

Where you live can also be something to appreciate. Some people want a bustling urban environment with nearby amenities, such as shopping, dining, transportation, or multiple ways to exercise. Others want the quiet and solitude of a cabin in the mountains or on a lake, with acreage, wildlife and beautiful views of all Mother Nature has to offer. Still others want a larger, more reasonably priced home in the suburbs outside the Beltway, where they can hop on a train and get lost in a novel en route to the office. 

So, is your home situated in the neighborhood or environment you wanted? Did the schools, if important to you, meet your expectations? Is it close to (or if you prefer, far from) family members? Is your commute to work or school manageable? If you answered yes to any of these questions, be grateful.

If you work from home, is the space pleasant and the atmosphere conducive to ensuring productivity? Is the color scheme energizing? Peaceful? Would your décor get at least an 8 out of 10 from Room Rater when you have a conference call on Zoom? 

Is your home big enough to expand into as your family grows? Small enough for downsizing? Does the layout still meet your needs or have your needs changed? 

Is what you own your dream house or condo? Could it be? If you need to make some modifications, be thankful for HGTV, the DIY channel, YouTube how-to videos, Thumbtack, and Yelp reviews.

Living through a renovation can bring out the worst in people. Weeks or months of doing dishes in the bathtub or showering at the gym can cause friction in even the most committed relationship. Once your renovation is completed, however, be grateful that your sanity withstood the trauma of living through it. 

Be thankful for the things you don’t notice or think of often. Do you love the way the dining room chandelier casts light on the ceiling at night or how the sun streams in through the skylight in the early morning? 

Perhaps the feature wall you added makes you smile when you come in the front door or a favorite piece of art that reflects your personality catches your eye. Maybe you have pleasant memories of family gatherings in front of the fireplace or choruses of “Score” as you and your friends watch the World Cup on your 65” TV.

If you’re like me, you’re thankful that your boiler made it through last winter, that you didn’t have to patch the roof again this year, or that you found that hole in the fence and repaired it before your dog got out. 

During the year, we can lose sight of the things we are grateful for, so as Elle Woods suggested in “Legally Blonde 2,” I highly recommend keeping a gratitude jar. 

Use it to keep track of what you’re grateful for by writing things down and dropping those notes in the jar. Then, when you have a home anniversary or are stressed out about a renovation, when out-of-town company stays too long or when the kids draw on the walls with a Sharpie, pull out a note from the jar and read it aloud like a mantra. 

Unlike the sisters of Delta Nu, however, you don’t really have to snap your fingers after reading it.

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate / @properties. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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Real Estate

Tips for holiday home sales

Buyers at this time of year are more serious

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Tasteful holiday decorations can improve the look of your home if you’re selling at the holidays.

The holiday season is often considered a difficult time to sell a home – but sometimes it’s necessary. For whatever reason, you may need to make a move quickly, and selling during the holiday months from November through January is your best option. If you find yourself in this situation, you should know that selling during the holiday season does have certain advantages. 

Often, more than during any other time of the year, buyers are in the same situation as sellers – they are buying for a reason. It may be a relocation for work, it could be a move to be closer to an older family member, or any number of other reasons that require a move quickly. As a result, holiday buyers are more serious, and make more competitive offers, not to mention the fact that there is often less competition from other sellers because fewer homes are on the market.

If you find yourself needing to sell your home during the holidays, focusing on the advantages can be helpful, along with a few other tips, including:

• Add some holiday cheer to your home: Often, holiday decorations can add an extra spark of seasonal flair and can be quite helpful to sellers – provided that the decorations aren’t overboard. Decorations that are too large or flashy may distract buyers and make your home feel crowded or cluttered. The right decorations, however, can be cheerful and bright and add some holiday spirit to your home that buyers enjoy. 

• Create some curb appeal: The holiday season is a wonderful time to enhance your home’s curb appeal with tasteful lights and other décor. It’s also important if you live in an area where leaves fall from the trees to be certain to rake and maintain your yard and surrounding landscaping. Certainly, if it is icy or snowy, you should shovel your driveway and sidewalks and make sure your home is safe for potential buyers to visit. Additionally, bare trees often draw more attention to the exterior of a home, so ensuring that your paint is touched up, gutters are cleaned, and other exterior features are in good condition is important. 

• Choose the right price point: Regardless of the time of year, pricing your home competitively will help to increase your chances of selling it quickly. Often, homes priced too high will linger on the market. The longer a home stays on the market, the more skittish some buyers become, and the lower the price may eventually have to go to ultimately sell it. Pricing your home competitively from the beginning can be very helpful.

• Remain accessible: The holidays can be a busy time, with many obligations and activities. As a result, it can often be more difficult than usual for real estate agents to arrange and schedule showings. Clearing your schedule as much as possible to accommodate agents and potential buyers can help to ensure that you get as many showings as possible, which will ultimately increase the chances of a quick and successful sale.

• Find the right real estate agent: The importance of this last tip can’t be overstated. Finding an agent who knows and loves the community will help you to market your home effectively, highlight all of its selling points, and connect with the right buyer. At GayRealEstate.com, buyers and sellers across the country are paired up with LGBTQ-friendly agents who can help them achieve their real estate goals, and this can make all the difference between a smooth and successful selling experience, and a stressful one.

While these tips are intended to be helpful, it’s also extremely important to consult with an agent who knows your unique market and can give you tips for your particular home. At GayRealEstate.com, we’d love to connect you with that agent today. Get in touch with us soon – we look forward to helping you reach your real estate goals.

Jeff Hammerberg is founding CEO of Hammerberg & Associates. Reach him at 303-378-5526 or [email protected].

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Autos

Holiday gifts for car lovers

Something for everyone, from a Barbie Maserati to Subaru dog sweaters

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Sure, a $100 gift card to use at the gas pump or EV charging station is a nice stocking stuffer this holiday season, but there are plenty of other much more playful gifts for car fans. 

Subaru Blue-Striped Beanie

To help reduce waste and carbon emissions, Subaru offers assorted eco-friendly clothing. This includes a blue-striped beanie ($15), made from 100% recycled acrylic knit and festooned with a sassy pom on top. Subaru Motorsports USA logo is embroidered on the side. 

Barbie Maserati Grecale Trofeo SUV 

For megabucks motorheads, Neiman Marcus offers its annual holiday catalogue —a collection of “fantasy gifts”— with the Barbie Maserati Grecale Trofeo SUV ($330,000). This fab ride—in shocking pink and with yellow accents—can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Only one is available, with 10% of the sale donated to the Barbie Dream Gap Project, which helps provide equal opportunities for girls and young women. 

Hyundai Nexo Kiddie Car

Back in the day, there were Hot Wheels, Matchbox Cars and Tonka Toys. Today, there’s the Hyundai Nexo kiddie car ($737), an electric-powered plaything with vegan leather, stitched seating and rear sensors that beep when there’s an obstruction. Parents can control the car via a Bluetooth remote-control system. Charging time: seven hours.

Mercedes Classic 300 SL Desk Clock

Turn back time with the Mercedes classic 300 SL desk clock ($85) made of aluminum and stainless steel, with a wave pattern on the dial similar to the design used on the dashboard of that vintage Benz. 

The Godfather Cadillac Model Car

Like Marlon Brando, here’s an offer you can’t refuse: The Godfather Cadillac ($23), a diecast model of the 1955 Fleetwood in that movie. 

Ferrari Wraparound Sunglasses

Caio bella! Sleek unisex sunglasses ($1,275) from Ferrari feature a futuristic wraparound design with steel frame, titanium nose pads and the automaker’s prancing-horse emblem on each lens. 

Maserati Blue Unisex Socks

What better stocking stuffer than, well, socks. Maserati’s blue unisex socks ($31) are made of a high-quality blend of cotton and technical fabric, with the Maserati trident logo inlaid on the side and sole of each sock. Ideal for outdoor activities or sports.

BMW Scooter

The BMW kid’s scooter ($120) is made of durable plastic and metal, with a height-adjustable steering bar and convenient storage drawer to hold stuff. Available in choice of two snazzy color combinations: white/raspberry or black/orange. 

Ford Bronco Holiday Adult Onesie

Ford is proud of its ugly holiday sweaters, but this year there’s the Bronco holiday adult onesie ($45). Made of 100% polyester polar fleece, this glorified pajama comes with loose-fitting hood, tight-fitting cuffs for your arms and ankles, and a cringe-worthy design in maroon, sage and cream coloring. 

Land Rover Heritage Watch

Inspired by old-school aviator timepieces, the Land Rover Heritage Watch ($282) has a leather strap, rugged stitching and early Land Rover logo on a matte black dial and ion-plated case. Available with a snazzy Land Rover presentation box.

Subaru Dog Sweater

Subaru offers festive gifts for those four-legged members in your family, including a holiday dog sweater ($35) made of jacquard knit. Other Subaru pet-centric presents: collars, leashes, clip-on safety light, travel roll-up mat, toss-n-chew dog toy, fleece plushie full of cat nip, and more. 

Retro Datsun Lunch Box

Gearhead foodies will appreciate the Datsun lunch box ($15), with images of two iconic cars from that retro automaker: the racy 240z roadster on one side and the stylish 510 sedan on the other. 

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